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    CHECHNYA: UP TO 40% REFUGEES TO SETTLE IN INGUSHETIA, EXPECTS FEDERAL MINISTER

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    MOSCOW, FEBRUARY 16, RIA NOVOSTI - An approximate 17,000 Chechen refugees intend to settle for good in the neighbouring Ingushetia-another of Russia's North Caucasian autonomies, expects Stanislav Ilyasov, federal Minister for Chechen Affairs.

    An overwhelming majority of refugees have returned to Chechnya. 47,000 are staying in Ingush shantytowns. 30 or 40 per cent of these are determined to settle in the host republic, while close on 30,000 will go back to Chechnya, he said to the media.

    Refugee return is a purely voluntary matter. Authorities do not mean to drive all back home, and coercion is the last thing they intend. "Who wants to stay in Ingushetia will stay, and we are willing to help them make new homes. Who wants to come back will come back," remarked the minister.

    The United Nations is considering prospects to shift its office from Ingushetia to Grozny, Chechen capital, added Stanislav Ilyasov.

    Republican authorities are willing to provide office premises for the UN in Grozny, reassured President Ahmad Kadyrov of Chechnya, in his turn.

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